It Keeps Going, And Going: Sony Drops PlayStation 2 to $99

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Sony’s venerable PlayStation 2 has been on the market even longer than Windows XP: Sony first introduced the console in late 2000 (in North America) and (despite some revisions that have slimmed down its case and lowered component costs) has remained largely unchanged in that time. And the PlayStation 2 business has been very good to Sony: the company has managed to sell over 50 million units in North America. Now Sony is looking to sell even more, announcing that it is dropping the base retail price for the PlayStation 2 from $129 to $99, putting it under that oh-so-important $100 price point.

“This new price means that more people than ever will be able to join in on the fun that so many of you PlayStation 2 owners have been enjoying for years,” wrote Sony Computer Entertainment’s director of hardware marketing John Koller, on the PlayStation blog. “With this new price, we intend to introduce a new generation of consumers—some of whom weren’t even alive when the system was first introduced in 2000—to the immense entertainment value offered by PlayStation 2.”

Although the PS2 doesn’t tap into Internet gaming or purchasing, offer high-definition gaming, or act as an extension of a home’s media network, the PlayStation 2 does offer a wealth of games (almost 2,000 titles—not counting games for the original PlayStation—none of which can be played on the oh-so-high-tech PlayStation 3). The PS2 also still has new games coming out: with an installed base that large, game publishers and studios are still creating titles for the PS2, although the pace has slackened a bit in recent years.

Critics, of course, note that taking $30 off the price of the PlayStation 2 might encourage a few holdouts to get into the video game market, but from a broader standpoint, Sony might have been better advised to cut prices on its Blu-ray equipped PlayStation 3, which is still racking up disappointing sales numbers in comparison to the Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii.